Greater Manchester CSU consolidates nine sites onto ServiceNow cloud

Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) has successfully migrated nine pre-existing NHS support sites, all using disparate platforms from a number of providers, onto ServiceNow’s IT Support Management cloud.

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Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit (GMCSU) has successfully migrated nine pre-existing NHS support sites, all using disparate platforms from a number of providers, onto ServiceNow’s IT Support Management cloud.

The organisation, which provides a variety of support services to Clinical Commissioning Groups in the Greater Manchester area, came into existence following the merger of a number of smaller support businesses on 1 April 2013.

It was formed in response to the ongoing NHS reforms taking place.

The reforms will allow CCGs to put their support needs out to tender to private companies, which means that GMCSU needs to be as competitive as possible in its service offering. Furthermore, some 50 percent of the organisation’s staff are dedicated to IT service management, which generates half of its £50 million revenue.

Recognising IT Service Management as an area it could standardise on, implement best practice and create efficiencies, GMCSU went out to tender for a solution and decided on Partners in IT to help it roll out ServiceNow’s Automation Application Suite. According to GMCSU, Partners in IT was selected as the ‘highest scoring’ option based on a range of evaluation criteria, including cost.

ComputerworldUK spoke to Peter Moseley, GMSCU’s Head of Service for Information Management and Technology (IM&T), who explained that ServiceNow is also being extended into other areas of the business, outside IT.

“As you can appreciate it wasn’t that easy to do. For each of the nine organisations they each had their own hours of operation, their own service performance levels, their own prioritisation activities, the style of working was different in each of those areas. We went from a completely mixed bag of approaches as you’d expect and we tried to consolidate all of that into one,” said Moseley.

“We went with them [Partners in IT and ServiceNow] mainly from a flexibility point of view. What we were looking for was not the traditional IT service desk solution, the vision was that we have a number of services that GMCSU has to provide and a lot of those services have call logging and call fulfilment and so we wanted it to stretch into other areas of our business, rather than just the IT service desk.”

He added: “We already have our smart card process that uses that, parts of our people services (HR) that use ServiceNow, our business intelligence functions will come on very shortly and finance are ready to take on the same tool. The point is to offer the flexibility to push more of our services through this route, so we have got a controlled method of managing this. “

GMCSU began working with Partners in IT in early 2013 and by the end of July all of the service desks were migrated onto the platform with approximately 13,000 users now having access to a self-service portal, which has led to a drop in telephone requests per month from 14,000 to 10,000.

Moseley also said that because all initial requests go through the online portal and are input into standardised fields, this has resulted in greater consistency in data capture and is helping GMCSU to build a single management structure and a single system of record.

The clear reporting has helped the team to identify efficiency and cost savings, including a reduction in headcount to lower operating costs – GMCSU has slimmed down to 55 percent of its original support staff numbers, according to Moseley.

However, he added that GMCSU’s current deployment of the solution is just the “gateway phase”, where he is now looking to use ServiceNow to further transform the organisation. This includes improving performance against SLAs, improving customer satisfaction scores and working towards ISO/IEC 20000. Beyond that GMCSU plans to implement ServiceNow’s Major Incidents and Knowledge Management applications, along with the Service Catalogue, which will show customers what’s available from GMCSU’s IT service function and allow them to make requests and purchases via an e-commerce function.

Moseley also noted that although there were concerns about the solution being hosted externally, this meant that GMCSU could consolidate the existing organisations quickly.

“There were apprehensions about it being a cloud based service, particularly when you are talking about the NHS, but the advantage that it gave us was that because we are separated across many geographic locations and we have got people working all across the Greater Manchester area – it gave us a quick fix that once we got the calls in, we can dispatch those calls to our field engineers irrespective of where they were,” he said. 

“As part of another project we are planning to integrate all of our networks, but in advance of that it meant we could start that seamless break fix arrangement much earlier in the process.”